Burgundy inspires top award for Otago Pinot Noir

Q&A with Andy Anderson, winner of Best Pinot Noir in the World Trophy at the International Wine & Spirits Competition in London 2018

This year’s winner of Best Pinot Noir in the World at the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) in London is the 2014 Takapoto Pinot Noir, which is made from grapes grown on the Cox’s Vineyard in Gibbston Valley, from Pinot Noir clones 113, 115 and 5. It is matured in 66% new French oak and 34% one year old French oak and costs $70.

How important was taste as you were growing up?
Mum is a pretty good cook, so the kitchen was always full of enticing smells and flavours.
I started to be interested in taste and texture when I started in the hospitality trade at 18, particularly with regards to wine.
I love the fact my brother is a winemaker too because it makes for great get togethers where we share wine and discuss all things vinous.
How about the first wine to turn your head?
Back in the early 2000’s I worked for Woolworths Australia on the tasting panel and very fortunately got to attend some amazing wine tastings.

The wine that absolutely proved how amazing Pinot Noir can be was a bottle of Domaine Comte Georges De Vogue Musigny Cuvee Vieilles Vignes 1966 – it literally blew my perception of how magical a great wine can be, I made my mind up then and there that that is the bench mark wine to try emulate with a New Zealand twist.

What makes Takapoto such a special wine from your perspective?
Having access to two fantastic vineyards thanks to my friends at Viticultura is a large part of the story. I take my time walking both vineyards chosing the best rows of each individual clone to get the best interpretation of the vineyard. Each clone has a barrel specifically chosen to emphasize the uniqueness of the site.
The wine is very gently treated, it is left to warm up naturally after a cold soak as the native yeasts do their thing. It has no additives, apart from low levels of SO2 and it is bottled unfined and unfiltered.
What’s the most exciting part of winemaking?
Seeing the fruit arrive at the winery, watching as the yeast starts to bring each ferment to life releasing amazing aromas around the winery. Then the blending sessions too, which bring the final wine together after 12 months. So rewarding.
And the most challenging?
Mother nature is the biggest challenge each year, but as a winemaker the satisfaction you get from making good wine in a difficult year is what you want to get out of bed for.
What’s the best change you’ve seen in New Zealand wine?
The move to organic farming has been a huge positive, as well as the changing styles of wine as winemakers get a better understanding of vineyard sites.

Author: Joelle Thomson

I am a wine writer, author and educator... first bitten by a big buttery Chardonnay on a dark and stormy night in the 1980s and there was no turning back... Follow my tastings and join some too on this new site.

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